Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 4:06am

HK$100 million aid money is a proclamation of loyalty

BIO

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.
 

To give, or not to give: that is the HK$100 million question. Before we answer that, let's make one thing clear: the central government has plenty of its own money to handle the devastating Sichuan earthquake. It doesn't need donations to pay for disaster relief. Beijing in fact spurned a Japanese aid offer, saying it can cope without international help. A proposal by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration to donate HK$100 million is, therefore, relief money only in name. It is, in reality, a political gesture. Some politicians have kicked up a stink about reaching so deep into the taxpayers' pocket for relief money that's not needed. They remember how corrupt officials squandered a much larger donation after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. But the point isn't whether the central government needs the money or if corrupt officials will again misuse it. The point is whether we want to fly our patriotic flag with HK$100 million written on it to proclaim our loyalty as part of the motherland. That is the question.

 

Someone, tell insensitive Canning Fok to shut up

There is a time to speak up and a time to shut up. Someone needs to explain that to Li Ka-shing's top aide Canning Fok Kin-ning. We all have our opinions on whether the 20 per cent pay rise demand by the striking dockers working for a Li-owned subsidiary is reasonable or excessive. Public Eye won't get into that. But we know this: someone who makes millions should watch his words carefully when commenting on those who make pocket change in comparison. Fok pulls in so many millions every year as Hutchison's managing director that he's constantly the city's top taxpayer. For him to say that the workers on strike are already earning plenty at HK$20,000 a month when the median monthly wage of Hongkongers is HK$12,000 was not just gratingly insensitive, but downright idiotic. Such insensitivity by one of Hong Kong's richest men exacerbates the already bitter divide between the rich and poor in a city with the widest wealth gap in the developed world. Is Fok saying that anyone earning a bit above that paltry HK$12,000 a month in this super-rich city has already achieved the Hong Kong dream? Was he not listening when a visiting Australian union leader condemned as living hell the Hong Kong dockers' working conditions and that they earn only a third of what Australian dockers, who work far fewer hours, do? How does that make Asia's so-called world city look on the international stage?

 

Pan-dems should make up their minds on milk powder

What is it that our so-called pan-democrats want? Why can't they just make up their minds? They savage the government for doing nothing when mainlanders and parallel-goods traders empty our store shelves of baby milk powder, driving local parents to desperation. But when the government actually does something by slapping a two-tin limit on people exiting the city, the democrats decide to turn indignant and demand a sunset clause for the new rule. What kind of idiocy is it to demand something, get it, and then demand an end date for it before it has even had a chance to work properly? Sure, the two-tin limit had teething problems. But all it needs is a bit of tinkering, not cold feet. Any early scrapping of the new rule will only trigger another buying frenzy of baby milk powder by mainlanders. When that happens, all the fury of local parents should then be directed at the wimps who now want a sunset clause.

mickchug@gmail.com

 

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